This offseason feels a little different for David Dahl. Not just because he got married in the offseason but because he finally feels healthy going in spring training. Dahl has been in the Rockies lexicon for more than half a decade now and at just 24 years old, he can still make a significant impact to the club’s roster. The only factor being his health.
"“It’s great being able to work out without and issues or having to worry about anything. It makes it a lot easier in the offseason not having to plan around that.”"
Dahl finished the 2018 regular season on a high note and played in nearly half of the big league club’s games. When asked how he is preparing differently compared to other off-seasons, Dahl related all back to one thing.
"“This year is a little different because I’m healthy,” Dahl said. “Last year I couldn’t hit until a week or two until spring training started. My swing felt terrible going into the season. It just wasn’t where I wanted to be because of the injury. I feel healthy. I’ve been hitting a lot. Feeling good. I’m just really excited to kind of really get in there and get going and get the timing and everything back.”"
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Despite many injuries, Dahl has always showed tremendous promise. In 2013, Dahl tore his hamstring after being named the Pioneer League’s most valuable player after rookie ball. In 2015 after a collision with a teammate, lacerated his spleen. He was back in a couple of months and reached Triple A less than a year later. That takes us to his latest stint on the DL. Dahl made his big league debut in 2016 hitting .315 and opening his career with 17 consecutive games with a hit, tying the MLB record.
Then Dahl missed all of 2017 and a large part of 2018 rehabbing from a fracture in his rib. He then would break his foot in the middle of the season. His season was not all lost though and he continued to show the spark, that excited Rockies fans when he was drafted out of high school in 2018, when he shined in the last month of the season.
In 21 starts in the month .281 with nine of his 16 home runs. The strong finish to the season has motivated Dahl even more this offseason.
"“Yeah I feel good. [I’m] just trying to build off of that,” he said. “Get stronger, do all of the regular offseason stuff. Get stronger, work on your swing. Get ready for the year. Trying to come in compete for a starting job. And play every day.”"
Playing every day is the main goal but it is assumed that not only can he nab a starting role in the outfield, but he is on the trajectory of having a breakout year. Especially with openings after both Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra are still in free agency.
"“Yeah there are definitely some openings but the mindset is the same as the last few year. I still have to go out and be healthy and perform and try to get my work in spring the right way. My mentality has definitely stayed the same way,” Dahl said."
The team has a lot of competition not only in the outfield but from the voids veterans in DJ LeMahieu and Adam Ottavino are leaving. There are opportunities for younger players to add to Dahl’s competition. He sees that all for the greater good of the team.
"“Yeah it’s definitely good, we’re losing some of the guys, we’re definitely going to miss them, especially some of the veteran leadership. But we have some really good players that can step in.”"
Dahl spoke of younger competitors bringing more weight to performing like Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson and Brendon Rodgers.
"” I definitely think so. I think you look at all of our minor league numbers we produced, at the times in the big leagues we produced now it’s just getting that every day opportunity and going out and performing like we can.”"
With spring training just weeks away and the club staying relatively quiet in the offseason, the opportunity for Dahl is at an all-time high. He’s the best candidate for a breakout season. Just imagine what he can do if he’s healthy.